What Does it Mean to Live in Beauty?

Place of Serenity | Live in beauty

Beauty is the subject for many poets, artists and philosophers. Let’s look at a patchwork quilt of ideas about what it could mean to live in beauty.

Beauty as a feeling

‘Bear Heart’ from the Muskogee tribe of Native American Indians says:

‘… the way to attain the beauty in life is through harmony. Be in harmony with all things, but most important, be in harmony with yourself first. A lot will go on in your life … but that one word, harmony, will neutralize any problems and help your life to become beautiful.’

So beauty is a feeling that can arise with a sense of harmony, ease and grace.

Life and work as Beauty

Artists and designers in the 1800s felt that this had been almost destroyed by the Industrial Revolution. Various individuals and groups, consisting of artists, interior designers, jewellery-makers and architects, embraced what became known as the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Place of Serenity | Things Of Beauty

‘William Morris believed passionately in the importance of creating beautiful, well-made objects that could be used in everyday life, …. Produced in a way that allowed their makers to remain connected both with their product and with other people.’

~ Arts & Crafts: an introduction from the
Victoria & Albert Museum

This feels a very relevant approach to apply today. Many more people are looking to create lives that nurture connection among community and use sustainable materials. To incorporate the beautiful yet practical.

Individuals like Rosemary and her Wild Rose Basketry based in Ireland work with this ethos. She weaves beautiful willow baskets and so much more. One of many artisan creators across the world.

And businesses who are linking together so we can make informed choices when we buy, for example B Corporations who believe:

    • That we must be the change we seek in the world
    • Business ought to be conducted as if people and place matter
    • Through products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all
    • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations

We are all visited by Beauty

We can take inspiration from John O’Donohue who wrote ‘Divine Beauty’.

‘Each day each one of us is visited by beauty… beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it. Everywhere there is tenderness, care and kindness, there is beauty.’

Here, beauty is all around us and comes from within us too.

‘… beauty filling up the heart and then overflowing to render body, language, gesture and laughter radiant. The mind and the senses unite in the experience of beauty.’

Beauty in nature

Mary Oliver describes peonies:

‘…the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air …
beauty in the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open…
to be wild and perfect for a moment…’

We are not separate from nature!

Just as the peonies are beautiful and vibrant, so are we!

We know it emerges naturally when we see babies and young children. Beauty shines in their innocence and unhindered joy. We forget this as we march sternly into adulthood.

‘It is essential that we gain the unshakeable realization that our being is our sustenance; that we become our own source of happiness and support.’

~ Almine

So here we’re reminded that we can choose to nurture the impulse to create beauty, love, harmony, kindness, grace. These qualities burst forth from within us and are to be found around us too. Beauty exists, within and outside, if we remember to notice it.

Last word from John O’Donohue:

‘When we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world.’

And to meditate on beauty, I invite you to listen in to my 5-minute SoundCloud recording:

SoundCloud: A Moment of Beauty

Further resources:

The Wind is My Mother by Bear Heart

Full version of Mary Oliver’s poem: Peonies

Journey to the Heart of God by Almine

May you walk in beauty!

Yvette Jane

Place of Serenity | Place of Serenity






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